Covid-19 in Japan is increasing in many prefectures: Folly of encouraging tourism
Sawako Utsumi and Chika Mori
Modern Tokyo Times
Since coronavirus (Covid-19) entered Japan in the middle of January, the majority of the country escaped the crisis. Hence, 34 out of the 47 prefectures escaped the worst of events. Indeed, some prefectures recorded no deaths.
However, just like the sex entertainment and nightlife angle gave coronavirus a chance to spread to the wider community (not the sole factor but when infections were low then an important angle) in Tokyo, the tourist policy of the central government boosted the spread of the coronavirus. Thus it isn’t surprising that new daily high infections are happening in many parts of Japan based on encouraging tourism.
Since internal tourism was encouraged then new high infections include Aichi, Chiba, Fukuoka, Gifu, Kyoto, Osaka, Saitama, Nagasaki, Nara, Tochigi, Tokyo, and Wakayama. Indeed, even the remote Sado Island recorded its first case. Therefore, despite clearing warning signs, the central government played “dice” and endangered people throughout Japan.
Modern Tokyo Times warned that the tourist angle threatened to unleash more infections and install fear. It was reported, “Hence, for the 34 prefectures that escaped the worst, the fear is that outsiders might spread the coronavirus unintentionally. For many, it is a risk too far. Thus it appears that the central government is playing “dice” by solely focusing on economics.”
The central government bizarrely brought forward the tourist plan despite increasing new infections. Originally, the tourist plan to boost the economy was scheduled for August. However, the plan was brought forward to July 22 despite ominous signs.
Thus the state of emergency was squandered because over-confidence emerged. Therefore, the central government ignored all warning signs.
It remains to be seen if the situation will be contained like last time because – after real concerns in late March to the first three weeks of April – the situation was brought under control by early May.
Irrespective of this, why did political elites play dice given the prevailing conditions?
https://stopcovid19.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/en/ – Tokyo Metropolitan Government website for updates about the coronavirus crisis in Tokyo.
https://toyokeizai.net/sp/visual/tko/covid19/en.html – Japan and Tokyo Covid-19 news with more analysis
https://covid19japan.com/ – Japan regional coronavirus statistics
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ World coronavirus statistics
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